A religious leader in Dallas took to the internet last week to decry the Pro-Life provisions of House Bill 2, the Texas Pro-Life Omnibus Bill. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court of the United States enjoined – at least temporarily – provisions of the law that require the abortion industry to rise to the rest of the medical community in the safety standards provided to patients. Opponents of the law have concocted arguments against these provisions, but at the end of the day no one can logically (‘logically’ being the operative word) argue that safety standards are bad for women.
This, however, did not stop Unitarian Universalist clergyman Daniel Kanter from claiming that HB 2 goes against the Bible – specifically Deuteronomy 10:18, which states: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” According to Kanter, this passage means that leaders are obligated to live among their people, offering them service and protection. So far, so good: this is a sound argument. But bizarrely, even though the passage he cites specifically refers to God’s providence for the disadvantaged, Kanter extrapolates the meaning to suggest a universal right to kill unborn children – the very children who are the most disadvantaged in our society due to the lack of protection from abortion, which American leaders are guilty of imposing.
Rather than acknowledge that the leaders of Texas have been among those turning the tide against this injustice, Kanter’s stance – and that of Unitarian Universalism—is that Texas is usurping justice by protecting the preborn and demanding medical safety for women. Here, we have to take a look at Unitarian Universalism and ask why his religion would suggest the use of Scripture for this argument. First and foremost: Unitarian Universalists are not Christian, or Judeo-Christian. In fact, they have no common creed and share no religious beliefs. Although they self-identify as a “religion,” they are actually just a point of contact for anyone on earth (atheists and theists alike) who wants to share his “free and responsible search for truth” with likeminded people. Although the individual members do not share a religious creed, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s definition of this “free and responsible search for truth” is quite narrow, with allegiance to politically liberal ideals of so-called “social justice.”
On the issue of abortion, for example, members – even those who claim to ascribe to Judeo-Christian values – believe that abortion is a universal right for women. In fact, the Unitarian Universalist Association in Texas played a role in ushering the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion on demand, to the Supreme Court by influencing Norma McCorvey (“Roe”), who is now a Pro-Life activist and never actually underwent an abortion. Norma has outspokenly relayed that she was taken advantage of by abortion zealots with an agenda she did not share: “I was their most willing dupe,” she said. Kanter fails to mention these points in touting her name, however.
So, as a leader of the Unitarian Universalist Association, Kanter’s skewed interpretations of Scripture are not actually admonitions from his group’s brand of misguided Christianity (because the Unitarian Universalist Association is not Christian); rather, they are attempts to use the Bible as a corrective against the Christians whose faith plays a role in their Pro-Life advocacy: the Christians whose faith brought them to the Texas Capitol in the summer of 2013 to support the passage HB 2 and whose faith-inspired activism has helped HB 2 see repeated success against multi-faceted legal challenges hurled by abortion supporters.
A 2009 Dallas Morning News portrait of Kanter reveals a long-standing commitment to abortion in Texas – making him a fitting leader for the radically anti-Life First Unitarian Church of Dallas: “He is a proud father, avid cyclist, hiker, and an active presence in the community, working with Thanksgiving Square, Dallas Area Interfaith, and Planned Parenthood of North Texas [you know, the organization that defrauded Medicaid of over $129,000 of your taxpayer money]. He lives the pluralism he preaches.”
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s official documents state that their proclamation of abortion as a universal right is founded on the belief in “the inherent worth and dignity of every human person.” We could give the UUA a pass on the irony of supporting abortion because of the “worth and dignity” of humans, since this is a decades-old statement and maybe the people who drafted the document really did not understand that the preborn are “human persons.” But there is no scientific, moral, or ethical argument today that would be strong enough to combat the reality – evidenced by myriad technology, such as ultrasounds – that the preborn are, indeed, human persons. At the end of the day, the Unitarian Universalist Association is just another cog in the abortion machine that attempts to lend credibility to an argument that has none.